Artists versed in print, visual contemporary and video mediums band together to produce the newest exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Survival Guide.
It’s one of the last projects that curator Kristy Trinier will be presenting before she moves on to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity later this year.
Survival tools and tales are provided in the installation which Trinier has been researching for the past two years.
“You’re aware of risks, but then sometimes you end up in a situation of survival that you weren’t expecting,” Trinier says of the project. “All of a sudden your day to day—something you’ve taken for granted—might be at risk. Whether it’s how you engage with people in your community, how you feel like you belong, or literally your shelter—your place and where you live becomes ‘at risk’—everything else gets shifted.”
The exhibit features a psychiatrist’s office with artworks arranged by Winnipeg artist Brendan Michal Heshka. Having visited Sigmund Freud’s actual office, he meticulously placed works of art throughout the similar room—each with it’s own specific meaning.
“When I visited Freud’s office, I noticed the furniture and how he places things,” Heshka explains. “Some things just happen intuitively, but that doesn’t discount it if you think you put it there for a specific reason. An important part of my practice is making and thinking about space.”
His office features two photos across the room representing brute masculinity and a softer female figure. Alongside those photos is a self-portrait that captures his face in a vintage style.
“I began a series of portraits where I take certain artists whose work I’m quite into, and kind of morphed them with my own image,” Heshka says. “It comes to a nice level where it becomes neither me or him but somewhat of a figure in between.”
Another piece shows a hand-drawn cowboy hat with partly erased lines depicting the frustrations of the mental psyche.
“I’m a post-conceptual artist,” Heshka says, explaining how an instinctual approach often yeilds better results than anything preconceived. “And that comes with following your intuition of your hands.”